Iwata Eclipse HP-CS Review

The Iwata Eclipse is a super popular airbrush with both modelers and artists, and the HP-CS is probably the most popular version.  Thanks to Gary Glass, the president of Anest Iwata-Medea, I have a sample for review.

In the bottom of the box, under the foam, there was the manual and a small tube of Iwata Super Lube.  I have some store brand needle lube that I bought years ago, and it will be interesting to compare.  The lube goes a long way, so the little tube should last quite a while.

First Impressions

Hey, it's an Iwata.  As you would expect, the finish is flawless.  Without the metal cap on, it balances right at the trigger.  And, the trigger action is very smooth, if a little stiff for me.

The cap fits securely.  In fact, I had to really tug to get it off the first time.

The HP-CS weighs 103g without the cap, just 6g more than the HP-CR.

The cut-away handle allows you to pull back the needle to clear a clog.  It's a popular feature with some users, but I don't see any advantage over just pulling back the trigger.

The CS, like the BS and SBS, comes with a 0.35mm nozzle.  The BCS siphon version comes as 0.50mm.  The parts are interchangeable, so you can install either size components. 

Parts Breakdown

Here's where I ran into a problem.  When I removed the head, I expected the nozzle to fall out since it is held in by compression.  But, it didn't.  It was stuck in the head. In the picture on the right, the arrow points to the nozzle.  I tried gently wiggling the back of it to break it loose, but that didn't work.  I didn't want to use pliers to pull it out, because it would probably mess up the sealing surface.  And, I sure didn't want to push on the fragile front of the nozzle.  So, I sent an e-mail to Gary asking what to do.

Gary said to call a fellow named Kirk, who knows all the tricks.  So, I did.  Kirk said to stick the back end of the needle in the nozzle and wiggle it.  He assured me the nozzle is tough, and I wouldn't damage it.  But, I was afraid of damaging the needle.  So, I took a round toothpick that just fit in the hole and put some muscle to it, and it popped loose.  Thank you Kirk.

Actually, it wouldn't hurt to just leave the nozzle stuck in the head cap.  It's just as easy to clean that way, maybe even easier.

Here is what the brush looks like torn down.

Here is what the nozzle looks like close up.  It is a brass body with a small tip screwed in the front end.  Kirk said the tip is a proprietary material.  Don't try to take them apart.  They are spared as one piece.

The trigger is the same as the HP-CR, with the pivoting pin which I find tricky to install.  It has a front and back.  The rear side has a cutout under the button, as you can see on the right.

The air valve assembly looks just like the HP-CR too.  But, the two parts in the middle, the valve and spring, have different part numbers.

As in the HP-CR, the valve body, the part on the left, has some sort of lube on it, and has to be pushed out from above.  The rear end of the needle works for this.  The holes in it must align with the body when re-assembled.

And, as in the HP-CR there is a tiny o-ring inside the body above the valve, that the trigger pin passes through.  Once again, I didn't want to try to remove it.

If the trigger gets sticky, Iwata recommends putting a few drops of SuperLube in the trigger opening in the body.  Of course, you need to pull the trigger to do this.

The trigger assembly looks the same as the HP-CR.  The spring and needle chuck have the same part number, but the other two part numbers are different.

The arrow points to the spring guide, which can be used to adjust back tension on the trigger.

The needle seal is also the same part as the HP-CR.  It is Teflon and adjustable.

Just barely tighten it to get a slight drag when you install the needle.

The needle is very sharp and fragile looking as you might expect for 0.35mm.  It has a nicely polished finish.

The shaft diameter is a sturdy 0.055 inches.

Trying it out

I did my usual doodle  with food coloring on a paper towel.  I set the tension of the trigger springs to minimum, but I didn't clip any links this time.  I did remove the needle cap so I could get closer.  The spray angle is very narrow as you would expect from such a nozzle and needle.

I would say maximum coverage for spraying models is about 1/2 inch.

Like the HP-CR, there is a narrow channel between the needle seal and the cup that is about 1/2 inch long.  A pipe cleaner will barely fit in it and it does collect paint.


Like all Iwatas, workmanship is first class.  It's a great airbrush, and it's no wonder it is so well liked.  The 0.35mm nozzle is about as fine as I would go for general model painting.  It will require a little more thinning and thinner coats than larger nozzles.  But, it will do the fine detail.  If you prefer a larger nozzle, you could install the 0.50mm parts, which would run you about $25.  And, this might be a better choice for a beginner.  Thinning would be less critical and replacement parts are cheaper.

The HP-CS is pretty much an HP-CR with a different head design, and that difference makes it easier to care for.  With the 0.50mm nozzle, I think it would actually be a better choice than the HP-CR for a first airbrush.

Thank you very much for the sample, Gary.

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